The Percy Whitlock Companion
The Word Revealed: A festival service to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible
Royal School of Church Music RS40
As is already becoming well known, 2011 marks the 400th anniversary of the Authorised Version of the Bible, a translation that ranks with Shakespeare as probably the most formative influence upon the development of modern English.
This compilation of hymns, anthems, songs, psalms, collects, readings and meditations offers the outline for a church service that is like a cross between evensong and the Nine Lessons and Carols service at Christmas time, as it alternates music and words reflecting upon the book's position in relation to the history of the Anglican Church (along with the 1662 Book of Common Prayer), the English language, evangelising missions, and subsequent translations of the Bible.
The suggested order comprises five sections, with 'reflections' upon the history of the Bible and of this translation within the Church, followed by music, a 'liturgical' or symbolic action, a hymn and a collect. There is a choice of traditional hymns or more modern worship 'songs', while the given anthems by Batten, Attwood, Handel, Mendelssohn et al can be substituted by others. A story called 'Sarah's Dinner' is a neat, if admittedly corny, attempt to show how phrases from the translation have entered the language permanently. This collection has the imprimatur of the Church of England, and should be able to provide something profitable for the use of all sections within it, as well as serving, I should think, as a lasting resource beyond 2011 for the Church's annual commemoration of her scriptures on each Bible Sunday.